Do you mind if I change directions and talk about the audio performance of this player? I posted my impressions elsewhere, and I would also like to add them here.
My father picked up this player. Well, he is out of town, so now the player is now at my house (he he).
First, I will say that it is very hard to compare SACD players side-by-side. Too many damn cables to swap â€“ along with swapping the disc (Im not buying two copies of an SACD title). And even though I have two complete systems (currently in the same room), you really need to be comparing these players with the same set of speakers. This is one time that I wished I had a Sony ES receiver (they have two sets of multi-channel inputs). In light of all this, I will try to give you my impressions of this player (while I still have it) as a â€œmini-reviewâ€, based on a (un-scientific) comparison to my Yamaha universal player. Im calling this a â€œminiâ€ review because Iâ€™ve only had this player for a couple of days, and may only have it for a few days more. So dont expect too much.
System 1: Onkyo TX-SR800 receiver
B&W 602S3, B&W 601S3, B&W LCR600, Dayton Titanic III sub (10â€, sealed, 250W)
System 2: Pioneer Elite 54TX receiver
Swan 5.2, Swan C3, HSU STF-3
Yamaha DVD-S1500 DVD-A / SACD player, $400 MSRP
Adjustable crossover (60, 80, 100, 120), Adjustable slope (12, 18, 24dB/oct)
Build quality: very good (for this price range)
SACD/DVD-A user interface (GUI): very good, Remote: basic (poor)
Extra features: DVD-V video = average, DVD-V audio = poor, multichannel = very good
Sony DVP-NS975 SACD player, $300 MSRP
Fixed crossover (120Hz), Fixed slope (assuming either 6 or 12dB/oct)
Build quality: very good (for this price range)
SACD user interface (GUI): basic (poor)
Remote: very good. Feels good in the hand. Lots of buttons, but easy to access (navigate).
Extra features: DVD-V video = very good, DVD-V audio = very good, multichannel = poor
Unlike all other players Ive seen/had, this playerâ€™s manual does NOT state that distance settings will not work with SACD (I have no way of testing this, though).
The Sony has internal test tones, which I used to make the initial setup (no tones on the Yamaha). Final adjustments (for both the Sony and Yamaha) were made â€œon the flyâ€, and by â€œearâ€.
Initial sound review (based mostly on Nora Jones, Diana Krall, and Joe Satriani):
Highs â€“ The Sonyâ€™s are open and airy (or that could just be Nora). The highs are smooth, but not as crisp as the Yamaha. The Yamaha is brighter, but it doesnâ€™t seem as clear as the Sony. Im not yet sure which one has the most detail. The Sonyâ€™s soundstage is a lot more forward. Overall (so far), I prefer the sound of the Sony.
Mids â€“ The Yamaha has a lot more mid-depth to it. The mids are strong and detailed. The Sony is thinner in the mids. Again, Im not sure if there less detail, but it is definitely not as powerful. I would not pair up the Sony with â€œbrightâ€ speakers, as there may be too much of a high/mid unbalance (mismatch). My speakers can bring out the mids, so there wasnt that much of an imbalance, however in this category, the Yamaha wins.
Lows/Bass â€“ In fairness, I set the Yamahaâ€™s BM to match the Sonys (small fronts @ 120Hz/12dB) and performed a comparison. I then ran another comparison with the Yamahaâ€™s BM set to small @ 80Hz/24dB, then another with the Yamaha at small @ 60Hz/24dB (this is equiv to 120Hz/12dB at 30Hz). Lastly, I tried both players with the fronts set to large (my fronts can handle 50/60Hz) and the sub on (the Yamaha automatically sets the sub to OFF when the fronts are set to large). SACD bass freqs are typically recorded low, and I am used to this as I usually run the sub a little hotter for my discs (especially Nora â€“ which has a lot on the 30 â€“ 60Hz range). Ok, completely catching me off guard was the Sony with TONS of bass energy. When I first read the Sony manual, I wondered why the sub level could set to -15dB (when you usually need +15dB). Now I know. In all four trials (BM cases), the Sony whooped up on the Yamaha. In the final case (fronts set to large, and sub set to on) the lows from both the speakers and the sub were very powerful, and required a quick dial-down at the sub (its behind my sofa) prior to going into the menu for adjustments (the Yamaha automatically pauses the disc when going into the menu, the Sony makes me stop the disc first). Revisiting the manual, I notice that the default SUB level for SACD in 0dB, and the defauld SUB level for DVD-V is -5dB. Based on this bit of information, along with my testing, I would say that the Sony has a built-in low-freq boost (for SACDs), much like some of the higher-end players. No question who wins this category â€“ Sony!
OK, that is it (so far). I was impressed by Sony. It sounded very good with MY system (your system may vary). In the end, I preferred its SACD performance over that of my Yamaha. The Sonyâ€™s interface (GUI) could be a little better, though. I believe that there will be a similar ES model (with i-link?) out soon. Im sure it will have a better interface.